Thursday, May 31, 2018

Will You Pledge to Make Kitchens Fair?



A new initiative launched by writer Kat Kinsman in partnership with some of the world’s best chefs and Unilever Food Solutions aims to make kitchens the world over fairer, healthier and happier places to work, and put an end to the damaging kitchen culture that has in some cases led to chefs losing their lives.

#FairKitchens is described on its website as “A movement of chefs supporting chefs to inspire a new kitchen culture.” The initiative is being promoted via social media and kicked off on 29 May with kitchen teams being asked to take “An Hour for Us” – to stop what they were doing and discuss a proposed code of conduct that would encourage kitchens to be more open and unified.

Kinsman of runs the ChefsWithIssues website, a resource for chefs struggling with the physical and mental toll of the job, and has spoken previously about how kitchen culture needs to change or more chefs will die – watch below.

Kat Kinsman at MAD5: "Feeding the Beast from on Vimeo.

A recent survey by Unilever Food Solutions reported 63% of chefs having experienced depression, 74% having felt sleep deprived to the point of of exhaustion, 53% having felt pushed to breaking point and one in four having suffered physical abuse at work. It also found that 60% of young chefs felt there was little possibility for career progression, while 34% of chefs felt under appreciated on a daily basis.

A number of high profile chefs have lent their weight to the campaign, including Ludo Lefebvre and Michael Gulotta. It’s generally felt that changing kitchen culture would be one way to tackle the industry’s growing chefs shortage.

So, will you pledge yourself to #FairKitchens?

10 Creative Ways To Cook With Sage


Culinary sage adds texture and flavor to dishes while infusing them with an earthiness that is hard to replicate with another herb. That's why we are big fans of cooking with sage whether it be in sauces, pastas, risottos, hearty meat dishes, and even dessert!


Sage is an herb that fights inflammation in the body and has been linked to a healthier brain. It is rich in minerals and vitamins A, K, C and E.


When using fresh sage opt for smaller, tender leaves, as they will be more flavorful. The flavor of sage intensifies when it is dried so use it judiciously. As a rule of thumb, when a recipe calls for fresh sage reduce the quantity by a third when substituting with dried sage.


Pairing watermelon and daikon is simply genius and this salad proves it. A simple lemon-thyme dressing adds flavor while sage leaves make for a delectable garnish.


Chopped sage is the secret ingredient in the wine-infused tomato sauce that accompanies these comforting Italian meatballs.


A savory streudel is a great way to incorporate more culinary sage into your diet. In this recipe red cabbage is sautéed with onions, garlic, pears and raisins then blended with pine nuts and sage before being wrapped up and baked.


Brunch will never be the same once you serve this gourmet egg sandwich. Mixed herbs are blended into an omelette then served with pancetta and fried borage leaves tucked inside a ciabatta bun.


This exquisite Italian dish of veal served with a creamy tuna sauce is easy to prepare. The veal is marinated in wine then simmered with sage and other spices. Afterwards, it is allowed to cool and sliced thinly then accompanied by the luscious sauce.


Prepare a meatloaf that is above the rest with this easy recipe for an herb-studded loaf made with sage, thyme, parsley, white wine and garlic. For extra oomph, the meatloaf is served with a beautiful herb sauce


Come autumn you'll want to prepare this sumptuous pumpkin risotto with sage over and over again. It is a comforting yet elegant dish perfect for entertaining.


Homemade seitan is served with mushrooms in a brown butter-sage sauce infused with white wine. It is a wonderful vegetarian dish that your guests will appreciate.


Spanish artist Salvador Dalí reportedly loved this dish of spaghetti dressed with tuna, sage, basil, parsley and garlic.


Sage in dessert? Yes, it's true! This creative dessert recipe comes to use from the folks at Modernist Cuisine who paired a garnet yam fondant with sage foam.

Tasting Tour: Top Restaurants in Philadelphia


Here's a selection of some of the top restaurants in Philadelphia, from classic Philly food to modern Israeli, cheesesteaks to breakfasts and brunches.
City Tasting Tour: Top Restaurants in Philadelphia

Philadelphia: it’s not a destination that normally comes top of food lists but the city is quickly becoming a delicious gem for those who know where to dine. In 2018, for example, Philadelphia had 15 semi-finalists up for James Beard awards and four of those made it to the finals. In 2017, they romped home with medals in four categories, including Outstanding Chef and Outstanding Restauranter for Michael Solomonov and Stephen Starr respectively. It's a delicious city that, like a good sour-dough starter, is constantly evolving.

On top of some truly delicious places to eat, from fine dining to the local cheesesteaks, it’s also home to a number of great museums, including The Barnes Foundation: one of the most impressive and highly valued private collections of art ever curated.

Below is a list of some of the Top Restaurants in Philadelphia - a collection of the best places to eat, from quick snacks to tasting menus and beyond. If you're looking for the best place to eat in Philadelphia, this is the list for you.

Owned and operated by Michael Solomonov, one of Philadelphia's best restauranteurs, Zahav offers up modern Israeli cooking that is rooted in deep delicious. Order hummus, lots of it, alongside a wide selection of mezze which are all perfectly put together. The stand out dish of the restaurant is a brined and smoked lamb shoulder that's slathered in a sweet, salty and sticky pomegranate molasses. It's so good I once made an entire hotel security team spend thirty minutes tracking down half a shoulder I'd left in a hotel fridge.

Whatever you choose to eat at Zahav, make sure you don't skip dessert. Pastry is handled by Camille Cogswell, the 2018 James Beard Rising Star Chef and someone who plays perfectly with the caramelized goodness of desserts.

237 St James Pl, Philadelphia

A modern diner with a casual menu that makes an impact with every sandwich and bowl of soup they sell. That's because profits from all the meals at Rooster Soup Co. are donated to a local charity that cooks for and supports the homeless residents of Philadelphia.

Pay it forward as you dine on a wonderful smoked matzo ball soup, or the moorish sausage and biscuits. The menu is refined diner, with soups, salads, sandwiches and a great selection of all-day brunch options available at the weekend.

Rooster Soup Co.
526 Sansom St, Philadelphia

Skewers and street-food are the order of the day at Sate Kampar: a Malaysian restaurant that promises to serve "sate the right way". This means a range of marinated meat, skewered and grilled on a traditional coconut-shell and charcoal oven. Chicken, beef, goat, fish and tofu are the options, served alongside either a traditional spicy peanut sauce or a sweeter version with pineapple.

The restaurant, which in just a fews years has become one of the best places to eat in Philadelphia, also serves up a selection of Malaysian classics: slow braised rendang daging is a firm favorite.

State Kampar
1837 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia

No trip to Philadelphia is complete without a Philly cheesesteak and where to do this is one of the most contentious issues in the city. For me, take a trip to John's Roast Pork and skip the namesake sandwich, instead opt the roadside shack's delicious cheesesteak. There's many places trying to refine it, but a cheesesteak should be sloppy, messy and seasoned with calorific guilt. This is Philly Food, through and through.

John's Roast Pork
14 E Snyder Ave, Philadelphia
A.KITCHEN kicks out colorful creations and unique pairings that will cater for your breakfast, lunch or dinner needs - not an easy thing to do in a city packed with choices. Beets, burrata toast and the a.burger are all great calls, and if you don't have time to sit and dine, head to High Street on Market - it's a bakery owned by the same group and they probably do the best bread in Philadelphia.
135 S 18th St, Philadelphia

Res Ipsa is the ultimate breakfast and brunch spot. Billed as a food and coffee concept, it’s an all-day cafe that kicks out classic egg and cheese sandwiches alongside hearty Italian breakfasts, salads next to calzones and, in the evenings a four-course tasting menu that incorporates a range of Southern Italian flavors.

Res Ipsa Cafe
2218 Walnut St, Philadelphia

9 Gourmet Summer Holiday Destinations 2018



Every year it's always the same story: from Easter onwards (although let's face it, most us have already begun looking since January) we start to fantasize about our summer holiday destination. However, in between absorbing tips from relatives and friends, pouring over stories on Instagram and travel blogs, time passes and flight prices inveitabley begin to rise. Thinking outside of the long established and far flung destinations, what's the answer to that fateful question: where shall we go on holiday?

For the eternally undecided, those who like to book at the last minute, those who don't want to give up the beach holiday or those who prefer a breath of cosmopolitan Europe to digging their toes in the sand, here are 9 lesser known summer destinations (although perhaps not for long). From the more folkloristic Spain to the student Coimbra, from Germany you do not expect, to surfing France, here are our summer holiday tips.

Picturesque, buzzing and romantic, Bordeaux is one of those French cities that you never forget. At just over an hour from the coast, Bordeaux is an excellent strategic point for those seeking a relaxed and relaxing holiday. If do go don't forget to rent a board and try your hand at surfing, after all you'll also be close to Cap Ferret, a cult destination for sea and extreme sports lovers. Foodie tip: don't miss the cannelés bordelais, the small soft tasty cakes.


Photo: Giuliana Pizzi

Seville is an open-air painting; and between Plaza de Espana and the thousand and more tapas, the city is always a solid destination. However, it's not recommended in the height of summer - temperatures can be exhausting - it is however a perfect city for those who prefer to go on holiday in September. Among the olive oils, preserves and jamòn, Seville is certainly a foodie destination. Foodie tip: try the galettas de aceite, a perfect souvenir to take home.


One of the most popular destinations of 2018, the Israeli capital is a magical city that continues to attract curious foodies. Not only is it mystical, with timeless views, Tel Aviv is also very gourmet. Between falafel, hummus, Shwarma, Shakshouka and so on and so forth, Tel Aviv deserves a place of honor on the top places to visit list this year. If you have a passion for honey, don't miss on its typical sweets: baklava.


At 800 km from the coast of Portugal lies Funchal, a small town - as well as capital - of the Madeira archipelago. Aspra, volcanic, this city that is slightly more than 100 thousand inhabitants, is a destination chosen by many for the summer holidays. The summer months are in fact the most suitable to enjoy a swim in the Atlantic Ocean, which is otherwise too cold or impervious. The natural pools are also an interesting attraction, particularly the one located above Porto Moniz. This is also a super foodie destination: in Madeira, in fact, the famous, lovable and perfect wine is produced, especially at aperitif time. Between fish and crustaceans, Funchal will never let you go hungry.



A port city of medieval origin, Antwerp is a real treat. Flemish and Renaissance architecture make the birthplace of the painter Paul Rubens the perfect destination for culture lovers. With a beautiful and lively musical scene, Antwerp will also not disappoint those looking for international festivals and concerts of worthy note. And the typical unmissable Belgian dish? Moules-frites, mussels in a light stew, of course accompanied by a generous dose of fries. Bon appétit!



Less touristy than sister city Marrakech, Fez is found in northeastern Morocco. Characteristic and charming with its winding streets and markets (souks), Fez certainly deserves to be taken into consideration on planning a trip to Morocco. In addition, the Moroccan, Mediterranean, spicy and tasty cuisine is an excellent excuse to opt for this lesser known but definitely magical city.



For some time Leipzig has been called the "new Berlin". The cost of living, the cheap rent and a cultural movement, make Leipzig the ideal destination for those looking for a cultural holiday in the green of Saxony. Between artist's studios, Markplatz, the colorful market of the center, the church of St. Nicholas and the Tapetenwerk (former carpet factory recently converted into an immersive art center), this German city is perfect for an escape from the Saharan temperatures of the months summer. The cuisine, notoriously crucial and devoted to meat, will amaze you with its vegetarian offerings. Don't miss the Leipziger Lerche, a pastry made with shortbread, jam, walnuts and almonds, which you find in the best pastry shops in the city.


When it comes to Holland, thoughts immediately turn to Amsterdam, its "forbidden" attractions and romantic canals to cycle along. But for an immersive holiday in the most rural part of Holland, you can not but dedicate a day (or two if you want) to the Zaandam windmills. Just 15 minutes by train from Amsterdam, this small town has always come out of the fairytale world. Brightly colored and curated she looks like she came out of a Wes Anderson movie. Between a photo and a break, don't miss the Uitsmijter, a typical Dutch dish, perfect for the summer, based on bread, cheese and meat, served with fried eggs.


We return to France, and the banks of the Garonne where Toulouse, a typically French student town, is located. Colorful, romantic and perfect for an alternative escape, Toulouse is just a few hours from Barcelona (making it perfect for the best road trip). Two hours from Perpignan, Toulouse is also the perfect compromise if you are looking for a holiday that can give you sea, river, mountains and much more. The official pink city, consumed in every possible way, Toulouse is a French jewel to visit at least once.

SingleThread in California is World's 50 Best Restaurants One to Watch 2018


SingleThread, the farm restaurant in Sonoma County, Northern California from husband and wife team Kyle and Katina Connaughton has been announced as the winner of the Miele One to Watch Award ahead of The World's 50 Best Restaurants 2018 sponsored by S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna.

The award is given to a restaurant entering the 51-100 list that has the potential to break the top 50 in the near future. Previous winners have included Disfrutar in Barcelona, Den in Tokyo and Saison in San Francisco.

Open since 2016 and with sustainability very much at its core, the two-Michelin-star SingleThread restaurant and inn in Healdsburg serves an 11-course tasting menu using over 70% products from its nearby five-acre farm, including honey, olive oil, vegetables and eggs. Menus are devised based on 72 micro seasons that direct which products are used and when to ensure ultra-seasonality.

A Japanese influence runs through the menu (chef Kyle Connaughton worked there for many years) and the dining room, with screens, dark wood panelling and linen lanterns, and earthenware from Japanese artisans adding to the general sense of wellbeing.

Connaughton was previously the head of the development kitchen at Heston Blumenthal's The Fat Duck, and has worked under Michel Bras.

He and farmer Katia will receive their award at The World's 50 Best Restaurants in Bilbao on 19 June, which you can live-stream on Fine Dining Lovers. Two other awards have already been announced ahead of the ceremony: British chef Clare Smyth is the winner of the elit Vodka World's Best Female Chef Award, while Peruvian legend Gaston Acurio will receive the Diners Club® Lifetime Achievement Award.

Watch a short video about SingleThread below.

100 Best Restaurants in the UK Outside London



Restaurant reviews site Squaremeal has released its list of the 100 best restaurants in the UK outside London for 2018, with Bristol's much lauded Casamia from chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesiasrising 11 places from last year's list to claim the top spot.

The Michelin star restaurant, which serves one serves a 14-course, pre-paid tasting menu, has recently relocated to the city's waterfront, where "The seasonally inspired dishes are served, often by the chefs, in an elegant room that blurs the boundaries between kitchen and customers, and where stunning attention to detail is apparent at every stage of a deeply impressive dining experience," says Squaremeal of its top UK restaurant.

In second place is Simon Rogan's L'enclume in Cumbria, while Kent's much loved The Sportsman, named Best Restaurant in the UK by Restaurant Magazine in 2017, sits in third. Raymond Blanc's Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat-Saisons in Oxfordshire is fourth, while The Fat Duck in Bray props up the top five.

The list is voted for by SquareMeal's users and writers; other notable entries on the list include Restaurant Nathan Outlaw (current Good Food guide number one) at 12, James Close's The Raby Hunt at number 27 and Gary Usher's Sticky Walnut at 38.

See the top 20 restaurants in the UK outside London below and the full list here.

1. Casamia, Bristol
2. L'Enclume, Cartmel
3. The Sportsman, Seasalter
4. Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat-Saisons, Oxfordshire
5. The Fat Duck, Bray
6. The Hand & Flowers, Marlow
7. 64 Degrees, Brighton
8. Restaurant Sat Bains, Nottingham
9. Midsummer House, Cambridge
10. The Waterside Inn, Maidenhead
11. The Artichoke, Old Amersham
12. Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, Port Isaac
13. Fraiche, Wirral
14. The Elephant, Torquay
15. Matt Worswick at The Latymer, Bagshot
16. Isaac At, Brighton
17. Paul Ainsworth at No. 6, Padstow
18. The Kitchin, Edinburgh
19. Little Fish Market, Brighton
20. Benedicts, Norwich

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Cajun Dirty Rice Is The One Recipe You Have To Master



Cajun dirty rice is always a crowd pleasure. It is colorful, flavorful and the perfect blend of vegetables, meat and rice with just a little hint of spice. Are you curious about making this Louisiana favorite at home? Here are the recipes that will make that happen!

The term Cajun refers to a regional style of cooking popular in Louisiana. It blends French and Southern culinary traditions and commonly features roux and the 'holy trinity' of bell peppers, onions and celery.


What makes Cajun dirty rice special is its unique blend of ingredients: rice, chicken broth, ground chicken livers or gizzards (which give the rice its 'dirty' appearance), pork, peppers and garlic.

Some of the more elaborate Cajun rice recipes contain a dark roux (a blend of butter/lard and flour cooked until it is dark brown), sausage or even ground beef. They are even vegan versions of this popular New Orleans dish which is also known as cajun rice dressing, as it makes spectacular stuffing for poultry during the holiday season.


For the best Cajun dirty rice recipe we turned to Emeril Lagasse, the authority on all things Cajun. This legendary chef best known for his shows on the Food Network but whips up a mean pot of Cajun dirty rice. Here's how to make it:

Cajun dirty rice ingredients for 8 servings

  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 lb chicken livers, finely chopped
  • 1/2 lb pork sausage, casing removed and crumbled
  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/4 celery, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp of Emeril's Original Essence (can substitute for a Cajun seasoning blend)
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 cups cooked rice, chilled
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped

Sauté the chicken livers and pork sausage until browned, then add all the vegetables and seasonings to the pot. After the vegetables are tender add the stock and bay leaves, scrape the bottom and sides of the pot and bring to a boil. Add the rice. Mix well and cook for about 5 minutes.

You can find Emeril's step-by-step cooking instructions here.


To prepare Cajun dirty rice with ground beef substitute 1/2 lb of pork sausage for the same amount of ground beef.


This is a special cajun dirty rice recipe for the raw vegans out there. It features a blend of vegetables that are marinated for an hour then combined with soaked bulgur wheat. It's not a gluten-free recipe but it is mighty tasty.

James Close: From Hitting Birdies to Cooking Them


Meet James Close, the former pro golfer turned chef who makes ‘World Food’ at his two-Michelin-star restaurant The Raby Hunt in the North East of England.
James Close: From Hitting Birdies to Cooking Them

“To be honest, when I decided to be a chef, I didn’t even know what Michelin stars were.” This may sound like an astonishing confession from a chef, a two-Michelin-star one at that, but then, James Close hasn’t exactly followed a conventional career path. A pro-golfer until his late 20s, he took up cooking after realising he wasn’t quite good enough with a club for it to be a career for life. His parents bought a run down pub, The Raby Hunt, close to Darlington, in the North East of England, and seven years later, Michelin were so impressed they decided to award the restaurant a second star, making it the only two-star in the region. He is completely self-taught. “I’d had a failed golf career and I’d failed at university ... I was struggling to find anything in the world that I really wanted to do. The only thing was food,” says Close.

With no formal training whatsoever, despite having been brought up in a hospitality environment – his parents were in the bed and breakfast business – the plan was initially, to pack Close off to France for a few years to learn his craft. But, approaching 30, he had the fear and wanted to crack on. He started, not unlike Heston Blumenthal had at The Fat Duck, by serving British pub food, with his mum helping him out in the kitchen. But Close, who had begun to take himself off on eating trips to some of the best restaurants in the world, including El Celler de Can Roca and Frantzén / Lindeberg, as it was known then, had loftier ambitions. If he couldn’t be the next Nick Faldo, he could certainly be the best chef he could be, he reasoned. The next few years were spent on an almost constant crusade to learn and practice, as much as he could.

Razor clam, almond and celeriac

“I’d finish work and I’d stay upstairs in the room above the restaurant. I used to call it the box room – tiny room,” he says. “I spent the first five years, just finishing work, going upstairs, no life at all outside the restaurant. I’d start the Internet up and start researching sous vide, cooking temperatures, everything like that. It was 24-hours a day, seven days a week, giving it everything you’ve got to try and learn quickly.”

Having briefly flirted with New Nordic – “A mistake,” he says – Close’s own style began to develop, influenced in part by the lack of ingredients and food culture in his part of the UK, and frequent, eye-opening trips down to London. He calls his cuisine ‘World Food’ and sees it as an accurate representation of what modern British food is today.

“I felt like in some ways I needed to stop looking at what everybody else was doing ... try and ignite the creativity inside and see what we could do differently,” he says. “London’s amazing for multicultural food and I started thinking – that is modern British culture. We’ll go and have an Indian, we’ll have a Chinese, we’ll have a Mexican. That inspired me to do what we do today, which is basically, no rules.” So there’s plenty of French technique of course, but there’s also yuzu, and Cornish crab tacos, wasabi, Cumbrian lamb, and pastrami sandwiches. “If I want to do a Mexican or French dish, I’ll do it. That for me is modern British food, to be inspired by all different cultures.”


Close tries to source from the UK as much as possible – all seafood, the aforementioned lamb, vegetables from a local farmer – but as befits an 'ingredients-obsessed’ chef who sees his cuisine as truly global, he’s not afraid to go further afield to source the very best products, like A5 Wagyu from Japan – deliciousness trumps a sense of place, in the end. “We would never get fish from any other waters,” says Close, “but meat is something we really struggled with. It’s got to be the best. You use local if it’s good enough, but if it’s not I’ll go and get it somewhere else, because that suits our style of food.”

Raw Wagyu fillet, nasturtium and basil

It may not be hugely fashionable to admit that, but Close doesn’t really care – he’s refreshingly open and unguarded, like his cooking, though he does check himself every now and then. He freely admits to me that he doesn’t have many friends in the industry, that most of his friends are from school, and that there are a few, shall we say more classically trained chefs, casting jealous glances at The Raby Hunt – which, he says, only spurs him on – though they are now finally becoming a little more accepting. “When we got that one star, we came out of the blue, nobody had ever heard of the restaurant,” he says. “There was a bit of jealousy kicking around. I can ignore that, I’m not that bothered. In Europe, where I go and eat all the time, a lot of the chefs sort of work together, there’s a lot more exchanging of information. This country’s just a bit behind.”

He also has plenty of ire reserved for Trip Advisor, a site he describes as “pathetic.” When we speak he’s considering if and how to reply to an email from a customer threatening a bad Trip Advisor review because she felt the service wasn’t up to standard (he doesn’t reply in the end, as he’s never done). Another, who’s already left a bad review, was probably the worst customer they’ve ever had he says. “She doesn’t like spice and she doesn’t like anything with any heat in it. No wasabi, no chilli – well that’s the first five courses ****** then, isn’t it!” Close tells me incredulously. “She hasn’t done her research to see what style of food we do or where she’s going. So Trip Advisor’s flawed, because the people who write the reviews don’t really have much insight into the restaurant world. Most of the time it’s all about the money. You can tell a Trip Advisor by how narked off they are with how much money they’ve had to spend.”

Ultimately, Close says, his is the type of restaurant that isn't going to be affected by Trip Advisor, but he would like to see restaurants come together to force the site to remove them from their listings if they so desire – in court if necessary. “It needs to be a mix: it can’t just be a two star chef who’s pissed off because he’s had an email. It’s got to be a collection of all. I don’t see how it can stand up ... surely we’ve got a choice, is what I’m saying.”

Lemon, three ways


Possibly the most amazing thing about the rise of The Raby Hunt is how they managed to achieve two stars with a kitchen that would not, by any stretch of the imagination, be described as ‘fit for purpose.’ “We were working in probably the smallest kitchen ever to get two stars [in the UK],” says Close. “We didn’t have any equipment, we had a fridge that had stopped working – we took the door of it and used it as a plate shelf.” They were running on a skeleton staff too, with just three chefs and two front of house. Now they’re looking to employ eight or nine in the kitchen. Close would like to be able to delegate more – he’s never missed a service – but echoing what many other top chefs around the world are saying right now, getting new chefs to stay more than a few months is increasingly difficult when they expect to have it all right away.

“I’m probably not a very good example, because I have done it instantly in some ways ... but the problem with the industry at the moment is one, you can’t get chefs, and two, they don’t stay very long, because with the Instagram and the X Factor generation, people want to jump around,” he says. “After eight months they think they’ve learned everything and they want to go somewhere else.” Close tries to keep his chefs inspired by sending them on paid placements to top restaurants in Europe like De Librijein Zwolle, Netherlands, undertaken outside of holiday time, or he takes them on eating trips (he recently took his sommelier and front of house manager to Mirazur) – all expenses paid. “Chefs need to eat out more than they do,” he says.

Lemon and thyme doughnut; The Raby Hunt dining room

They’ve invested significantly in the kitchen since winning two stars (though still “on a budget,” Close says) and are now a lot more relaxed about pushing out the sole 12-15 course tasting menu – the new plate shelf has helped presumably. Winning a second star, making the Raby Hunt one of 22 restaurants to hold the honour in the UK, has changed everything says Close. “We put ourselves on the map of gastronomy in the UK – we went from a restaurant that was one of many to one of few. We’re 50% busier than we were. All the chefs want to come and eat here. Bang, now we can invest,” he says. “I never thought about getting one star, or two stars, and I certainly don’t think about getting three stars” – inevitably, I’d asked – “all we think about doing is being better than we were yesterday – front of house, the dishes we do, the way we speak to people ... we’ve done that from day one. I just want to be the best I can be. Everybody’s got their limits to how good they can be, I know that from being in sport.”

Smarterware Could Help you Reduce Domestic Food Waste


We all have good intentions when it comes to using up leftovers. But perhaps, like us, you can admit to coming unstuck when it comes to remembering to eat up that carefully stored curry at the back of the fridge!

Sound familiar? Then Ovie Smarterware might just be the solution to the problem. Infact this is the new high tech food storage system that the company inventors boast will do the memory prompting for you, allowing you to keep tabs on whatever's lurking in the fridge.


Billed as the first connected food storage system it's an all bells and whistles storage system that uses a clever system of digital smart tags, or "brains" that can track how long food has been kept.

The tags simply attach to the containers or clip to packets and have LED lights that change over time - red signalling time's up. The phone app reminds you when the various contents in the fridge are coming up to their use by date, without ever having to root through the fridge. And if you have an Amazon Alexa, you can even tag your food by telling your assistant what to track and suggest some recipes later.

It's just launched on the crowdfunding website Kickstarter, where a starter kit costs $85. Take a look and see if you think it's what your fridge has been waiting for.

How to Cut Iberico Ham


Iberico ham, or Jamón Ibérico, the meat from specially reared, acorn-fed pigs, is a great Spanish delicacy, and the way the meat – which has deliciously rich and nutty qualities – is sliced can really enhance the texture, flavour and aroma.

That’s why Cortadoras, the ‘ham slicers,’ can be paid thousands of dollars for their work.


So what’s the best way to slice Iberico ham to get the most out of this extraordinary product? Oscar Gaitan, a professional ham slicer, has a few tips for how to cut Iberico ham in the video below from Munchies, from precise technique to the necessary equipment.

As Gaitan demonstrates, the ham pieces have got to be just the right size so that they melt in the mouth, one of the most enjoyable characteristics of good Iberico ham, and the knives must be kept razor sharp, so they do all the work and you don’t end up hacking at the meat.

Cutting Iberico ham is a skill that requires plenty of practice of course, but as a crowd pleaser, bringing out a full leg of Jamón ibérico ready to be sliced is hard to beat.

Top photo: Creative Commons:

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Alain Passard Cooks: 5 Great Video Recipes



Chef Alain Passard is a titan of French cuisine and watching him cook, with the joy he still has for ingredients and the reverence and delicacy with which he treats them, is a beautiful thing.

Though the Alain Passard recipes below aren’t purely plant-based, in recent years Passard has become known as the 'Maestro of vegetable cuisine,' after switching to a largely vegetal menu at his three-Michelin-star Arpège restaurant in Paris, long before it was fashionable to do so.

The best thing about watching the world’s best chefs at work is finding out the little tips and tricksthey use to elevate their dishes to the next level, like the way Alain Passard smokes the lobster carcas before returning it to the stock in the first video below for maximum flavour, or dressing fruits and vegetables with their sugars, like you would meat with its juices.

Enjoy these Alain Passard recipes.

St.Petersburg Gourmet Days 2018 Arrives with a Spectacular Chef Line-up


St.Petersburg Gourmet Days, in partnership with Acqua Panna and S.Pellegrino, is back for a second year with an illustrious line-up of world class chefs and dinners from 5 to 9 June. Tickets are now available on the website.

The international gastronomic extravaganza will light up the city for three days as chefs from Asia, Europe, and America join forces in exploration of the contemporary dining scene in St. Petersburg, as well as sharing their countries flavors with guests at city's finest restaurants.

Discover the rise of regional cuisine in Moscow

This year's festival ambassador, Chef Dmitriy Blinov of Tartarbar and Duo Gastrobar commented: “I’m very excited to welcome chefs of such a high caliber to my city from all across the world. There is a huge amount we can learn from each other and I think the festival will catapult chefs out of their comfort zone and encourage them to embrace their new surroundings and some products they may never have seen before.” Alongside him will be other homegrown talent showcasing Russia's local produce including chefs Ilya Burnasov (Atelier Tapas&Bar), Dmitriy Bogachev (Mr. Bo, Mansarda), Evgeniy Vikentev (Hamlet + Jacks), Alexey Kanevskiy (Smoke BBQ), Igor Zorin(The Repa, Terrassa) and Roman Palkin (BeefZavod).

Russia's rising stars will collaborate on nine exclusive dinners with a wealth of global talent. The 2018 line up of international chefs includes:

  • James Lowe (Lyle’s, London, UK)
  • Anthony Genovese (Il Pagliaccio, Rome, Italy)
  • Alejandro Peyrou (Alex Atala’s Açougue Central, Sao Paulo, Brazil)
  • Pablo Salas (Amaranta, Toluca de Lerdo, Mexico)
  • Ayo Adeyemi (Tippling Club, Singapore)
  • Garima Arora (Gaa, Bangkok, Thailand)
  • Maksut Askar (Neolokal, Istanbul, Turkey)
  • Will Horowitz (Ducks Eatery, New York, USA)
  • Nino Redruello (Fismuler, Madrid, Spain).

As well as the exclusive dinners taking place during the festival, there will be a series of talks and discussion panels in Swissam business school, and three late night after-parties.

For tickets and information visit

How To Pit Cherries With or Without A Pitter


What's the easiest way to pit cherries? That would depend on how many cherries you have on hand and how much money, if any, you are willing to spend on equipment.

This deliciously juicy fruit packs a lot of flavor and you'll want to make the most of cherry season. With that in mind, Fine Dining Lovers offers you advice on how to pit cherries without any fancy equipment but also provides suggestions on where to find the right tools for the job.


Using a cherry pit remover is by far the easiest and neatest way to pit cherries. Cherry pitters come in different sizes - some are handheld while others are meant to process large patches of cherries.

OXO produces a small handheld cherry pitter that is perfect for small tasks and traps cherry juices in a compartment. Here is a quick demonstration of how this product works:

Buy the OXO cherry pitter here.

If you'd like to pit a few cherries at a time you may opt for a gadget like the Prep Works Cherry-It Pitter, which pits four cherries at a time.

Buy it here.

Another option for small batches of cherries is the Chef'n Cherry Jar Pitter. This nifty design traps the pits in the top compartment while the cherries and their juice fall into the jar.

Find it here.


If you don't want to invest in a cherry pitter or you simply don't want one more utensil to clutter your kitchen try these easy alternatives:


In this case you would place the cherry on a cutting board and lightly press it with the flat side of the blade. The pressure will loosen the pit. The downside? The cherries will lose their shape and end up flat, which makes this method for ideal for desserts such as pies or cobblers.


For this technique you'll be working over a bowl that will catch juices as you pit the cherries. Insert the sharp end of the toothpick into the cherry and scrape your way around the pit. Then use the thicker end of the toothpick to pop the cherry pit out.

Now that you've learned how to pit cherries try these tips for preserving this sweet summer fruit.

The Science of Knife Sharpening Explained


Do you know how to sharpen a knife blade correctly? Here are some invaluable science-led tips and secrets to keeping your kitchen knives on point.
The Science of Knife Sharpening Explained

Sharpening a knife blade is seemingly a simple task. When we try to do so ourselves, we obtain mediocre results, at best. In the worst-case scenario, we could irreparably damage the blade.

Today we are going to discover that sharpening is a scientific process that leaves little room for improvisation: here are some tips on how to sharpen a knife blade in the best way.


First, it is good to remember that a blade is sharp because its thin edge has numerous serrations at a microscopic level. With use, these notches are smoothed until they disappear, and sharpening is compromised: the blade then starts to become 'flat.' A little at a time, the serrations completely disappear and the blade is no longer able to cut the material. After all, a blade is a type of micro-saw. This is the time when it must be sharpened.


'Sharpening' means restoring the thin serration of the blade, as much as possible. It is not a simple task, as it is difficult for the naked eye to truly see how much a blade is sharpened. It is therefore worth putting some technical parameters into place in order to guarantee resistant and unparalleled sharpening.

There are essentially two types of sharpening: 'maintenance,' which can be done with another knife or sharpener, and true sharpening or 'grinding,' which is necessary when the blade cuts badly. In this case, a whetstone or sharpener is generally used.

A whetstone is a tool, usually of a ceramic or diamond-plated material, which sharpens the blade by means of rubbing. Even the classic 'wheel' of the knife grinder falls into this category, with the difference that it must be lubricated with oil or water compared to the manual version. It is good practice to also lubricate a manual whetstone with a little bit of sharpening oil. At this point, the blade should be slid on the whetstone in the opposite direction of its cutting edge. The work begins on the coarser side, which is used for grinding and then to the finer side, which is used for sharpening.


Speed is not as important as the consistency of movement, and, above all, the angle. Thousands of pages in physics books discuss the matter, and legends were born. We try to simplify our life: the smaller the sharpening angle between the whetstone and the blade, the sharper the blade becomes.

So is it necessary to sharpen at a very small angle? No, because sharpening also corresponds with greater fragility. As such, the sharper the blade is, the more often it has to be sharpened. This is why, with experience, it is necessary to find an angle that offers just the right compromise. A tip? According to many, the angle for perfect sharpening is 20°.


The sharpener is another tool, which is generally used for maintenance sharpening. It offers a lighter action compared to the whetstone, which is called 'realignment': in practice, its function is to put the microscopic indentation of the blade back in line after having been bent in different directions with intensive use.

Using the sharpener is simple: hold it firmly and slide it along the length of the blade with a linear and continuous movement. In this case, as well as the angle of the blade with respect to the tool must be approximately 20°.

Maintenance sharpening can be performed often, as soon as the blade starts to lose its 'cut.' When the sharpener is no longer enough, move on to the whetstone.

A final trick: use a coffee cup. In an emergency and if you find yourself without tools, take a ceramic coffee cup, turn it upside down and pass the blade a dozen times on the edge of the bottom of the cup, always at a 20° angle.

World Gastronomy Forum 2018 Lands in Bangkok



In an exciting first, Bangkok will host this year's forthcoming fourth edition of 4th UNWTO World Gastronomy Forum, from 30 May to 1 June.

The annual food forum, organised by the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the Basque Culinary Centre, will this year also be supported by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports with over 500 delegates expected to attend the events in the Thai capital.

In the burgeoning food city that obtained it's ingugural Michelin Guide in 2017 and boasts three of the top 10 restaurants in Asia's 50 Best Restaurant List, including Gaggan at no.1, it's a valuable opportunity to explore and maximise it's potential as a food destination with the support of international experts.

Infact, this year's first foray into Asia will allow Thailand to promote its gastronomic credentials with a focus on the future and harnessing the power of technology as a driver for sustainable growth.

The three day agenda includes a symposium, workshops and seminars in which experts in gastronomy tourism from around the world will discuss trends and challenges, exchange best practices and inspire discussion. There will also be plenty of opportunity for tasting tours to discover the local food landscape.

The first edition of the World Gastronomy Forum was held in San Sebastian in Spain, the 2nd in Lima, Peru and 3rd back in San Sebastian again.

10 Best Food Movies



US restaurant critic Jonathan Gold has revealed his top 10 favourite food films in the LA Times.

It's an eclectic selection of world cinema, from short to feature films, from old to new and covering a staggering variety of food driven topics, from ambitious restaurateurs to more tenuous links like love and canned pineapples.

Here's the rundown on each, take a look and see which ones get your creative juices flowing.

Katsuyuki Motohiro

This 2006 Japanese features a failed comedian who finds happiness reviewing noodle shops back in his home prefecture in Japan. Gold does concede however, that after Tampopo, Udon is probably the second best ever food film made.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi
David Gelb
This captivating film captures the life and work of of one of the world's best sushi chefs, octogenarian Jiro Ono.

The Gleaners and I
Agnès Varda

The French docu-film from Agnès Varda's follows a band of modern-day gleaners, as they hunt for food in both rural and urban settings.

The Exterminating Angel
Luis Buñuel

This surrealist film is set during a never ending opulent dinner party, until things turn sour.

The Bakery Girl of Monceau
Éric Rohmer

This short film was the first of director Éric Rohmer's Six Moral Tales. In just 23 minutes he manages to tackle love and temptation,  when the lead character's head is turned by the girl in the bakery.

Christmas in Connecticut
Peter Godfrey

This Christmas culinary delight is set in Conneticut and captures the farcical reality of a food and drink magazine columnist who is unable to cook, but is forced to fake it in an entertaining series of catastrophes that ensue.

Killer of Sheep
Charles Burnett

An American drama film that follows Stan, a slaghterhouse worker in LA and how it affects his home life.

The Secret of the Grain
Abdellatif Kechiche

This touching and intimate Franco Tunisian film follows the ambition of an ageing Maghreb immigrant to establish a succesful restaurant to leave to his family, where couscous and mullet are central to the menu.

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Wes Anderson

This visual treat is stacked with moutwatering arrays of cream puffs arranged in pink pasteboard boxes, leaving little to the imagination why it would appeal to most foodies.

Chungking Express
Wong Kar-wai

... and this Hong Kong drama film follows two sequential stories, one about a lovesick policeman and canned pineapples!

Ferran Adria's New Food Lab to Open in 2019


Ferran Adrià will finally open his long awaited food lab, elBulli 1846, on the site of the famous elBulli restaurant in Roses, Spain sometime between July and October 2019.

The project, named after the number of dishes Adrià estimates were created at the restaurant, had been stalled by enviromental concerns, given the site's location within the Cap de Creus Natural Park.

The Spanish chef had wanted, initially, to open the research and exhibition space within three years of closing the three-Michelin-star elBulli in 2011, but it had been on ice for some time until work started again on the scaled down project in 2017, following the granting of full planning permission.

Adrià has previously told Eater that the project would involve the creation of a 43,000 square foot musuem dedicated to "the spirit of innovation at elBulli," which would welcome a maximum of 200 visitors per day, alongside space dedicated to professional cooking, study and research.


ElBulli is not the only mammoth project occupying Adrià currently: the first of 35 volumes of his huge gastronomic enycyclopaedia, Bullipedia, was released late last year, while he's also been involved with creating a brand new restaurant concept in Turin, Italy

Watch Adrià speak about the relationship between food, drink and the contemporary world in a revealing new interview below.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Virgilio Martinez to Open in Hong Kong


Virgilio Martínez, the chef behind the acclaimed Central restaurant in Lima, Peru is to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong in July 2018, his first foray into Asia.

Ichu Peru will be a relaxed bistro-style eatery, serving Peruvian comfort food. "We want guests to feel as though they have been to Peru and experienced local comfort food," says Martinez. "Ichu will celebrate Peru’s no-fuss dining culture with a menu that showcases traditional local ingredients and cooking techniques."

The Joyce Wang-designed restaurant will have 80 covers inside, as well as a further 85 on an outdoor terrace, plus there will be a bar area for casual dining. Martinez has relocated three of his trusted team to Hong Kong, including chef Sang Jeong.

The entrance at Ichu

Central, which will close in June before being relocated to a new site in Lima, currently sits at number five on the World's 50 Best Restaurants list and has topped the Latin America's 50 Best Restaurantslist three times.

As Martinez has told us previously, the new Central will be home to an exhibition space for the restaurant's research arm Mater Iniciativa, as well as the first solo restaurant from Martinez's wife and business partner chef Pía Leon, called Kjolle.

The pair have also recently opened a new restaurant, Mil, high in the Peruvian Andes, serving a menu exploring the foods of different altitudes, informed by Mater Iniciativa's research – the name Ichu actually derives from an Andean plant.

Martinez follows compatriot chef Mitsuharu Tsumura to this part of Asia – the latter recently opened a new Nikkei concept in Macau.

Renders: JoyceWangStudio; portrait: Cesar del Rio

Julia Child's Créme Brûlée Recipe Will Surprise You


Créme brûlée is without a doubt one of the most exquisite French desserts. Who can resist the thrill of cracking its thin caramelized crust only to be greeted by a creamy vanilla custard?

Eating créme brûlée shouldn't just be relegated to restaurants. To help you with that endeavor we are sharing an exquisite créme brûlée recipe from the late Julia Child, who pioneered French cuisine in the United States.

Child uses an unconventional technique to prepare her créme brûlée, which will save you time in the kitchen. Curious? Let's get started!


In her book Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Child shares an interesting tidbit about créme brûlée. Apparently, this beloved dessert originated in England at Christ's College in Cambridge. How's that for an interesting plot twist?


The beauty of créme brûlée is that it can be prepared with just a handful of ingredients: sugar, cream, egg yolks and vanilla extract. Its simplicity is astounding but the artistry lies in knowing how to cook the custard without lumps.

Child's recipe is prepared in the same fashion as créme Anglaise, a light custard sauce. This means the custard base is prepared on the stovetop and won't require baking in a bain marie (as you would if you were making flan).

Créme Brûlée Recipe

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 3/4 cup cream, scalded
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Cooking Instructions

1. Mix half of the sugar into the egg yolks. Beat 3 minutes until the egg yolks turn pale yellow.

2. Meanwhile, place the cream and the rest of the sugar into a saucepan. Heat until the cream is scalding hot but not boiling.

3. Very slowly add half a ladle of scalded cream to the egg yolk mixture. Beat vigorously to incorporate.

4. Continue adding the hot cream to the egg yolk mixture in a small stream while whisking continuously. The idea is to warm up the egg mixture without cooking the egg.

5. Once the cream has been whisked into the egg yolks mixture pour it back into the pot. Cook over slow heat, stirring continuously and scraping the bottom and sides of the pot until the mixture thickens.

6. Remove the heat immediately. Strain and add the vanilla extract.

7. Pour the creme sauce into ramekins for creme brulée. Allow to cool. Cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight.

8. Once ready to serve sprinkle each ramekin with sugar and broil until the sugar melts and caramelizes. Serve immediately.

Once you master this créme brûlée recipe, try making another French classic: madeleines.

Anthony Bourdain's Legacy Will Be Taught At This University

ANTHONY BOURDAIN'S LEGACY WILL BE TAUGHT AT THIS UNIVERSITY The late Anthony Bourdain taught the world many things through his travel...